Imagine trying to concentrate on what your teacher is saying when your stomach is growling.
That could be the reality for 350-400 students from Grades 1 to 12 in Red Deer’s public and Catholic schools. Thanks to The Mustard Seed School Lunch program, however, the students receive healthy mid-day meals to help them stay focused and energized in class.
In the morning, there is also a breakfast program offered at the schools by another agency, and the teachers have snacks on hand if any students arrived too late for breakfast or lunch.
“It would be like a car running without gas,” says Terri Lynn Mundorf, principal of St. Patrick’s Community School. “The brain needs nourishment to focus, and that comes from food.”
The volunteer-led lunch program began 20 years ago with the Loaves & Fishes Benevolent Society. When the society dissolved and transferred all of its assets to The Mustard Seed in June, the decision to continue the program was readily embraced.
“It’s a valuable service,” says Byron Bradley, Director of Central Alberta for The Mustard Seed Program. “We knew right away that the program had to continue. Our children are our future.”
Volunteers and donations of funds, food and supplies are needed and gratefully accepted.